A one time only special advanced screening of tomorrow’s column because
1) I’m working on my crossover – it’s all me, innit? And
2) It’s too important not to share.
I was recently sent a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How To Build A Girl, it’s good. Read it. Last year I also read her How To Be A Woman, it’s better. Hilarious if a little dictatorial – read that too. Give it to the women you know with the proviso that feminism is still about women making their own choices and not denigrating other women for the decisions they make.
You know what I’ve never read? How To Build A Boy or How To Be A Man (no, those Buzzfeed articles do not count). Why have I never read those or indeed seen them on any bookshelf, real or virtual? Maybe because I have knockers no one thought to send me a copy but maybe, just maybe, the world thinks it’s done building boys: they are just as they should be.
This is not one of those man-bashing things, that’s not the brand of feminism I go in for, but the fact remains that whilst for every woman who chooses glass ceilings over glass slippers, there is a man who thinks that’s fine and dandy, for every other woman who believes the way she looks is everything or that she couldn’t possibly be an astronaut if she so chose – there is a man who will slip a twenty in her back pocket and call it a compliment. Yes, my soul just died a little too.
Whilst we’re busy teaching girls to go out into the world and be anything they want to be, not giving a damn about their hairy armpits along the way, why are we not teaching the boys the same thing? That, contrary to the sidebar of shame and frighteningly accessible pornography, women can achieve anything they want to and be anyone at all that they choose. Anything and anyone a man can.
Somehow this little lesson seems to have gone astray. And it leads to things like schools changing their female pupils’ uniforms because the short skirts are ‘distracting for male teachers’. Again, not applicable to all or even most men, but that was a genuine news article I read recently. What message is that sending to our young women? That something as fundamental as what they choose to wear needs a man’s approval? Erm, ‘fraid not. And more importantly what message is that sending to our boys? It sounds a little too close to ‘she was asking for it’ for comfort really.
Maybe someone should be going to work on building the boys, a bit of work around the foundations might be in order. Building analogy done.
And to any schools considering that course of action, try employing better men ok? There are plenty of them out there. Don’t blame the skirts.